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BlackStar Projects Announces Mellon Foundation Grant

BlackStar Projects is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant in Arts & Culture from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. From 2024 through 2026, the Mellon Foundation will provide BlackStar $1,000,000 in funding, supporting the organization’s general operations.

Since 2012, the Philadelphia-based non-profit has celebrated important visual works produced by Black, Brown, and Indigenous artists and independent filmmakers. Through their visionary year-round programming, notably including the widely celebrated and highly anticipated annual BlackStar Film Festival, the organization has continually provided resources, catalyzed community, and celebrated creatives of color.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Mellon Foundation to continue to provide Black, Brown and Indigenous moving image artists the resources, support and space they need to create visionary, necessary work,” said Maori Karmael Holmes, Chief Executive & Artistic Officer.

The Mellon Foundation grant provides BlackStar with the means to further its mission to uplift genre-defying visual art from the global majority. With this support, BlackStar will continue to create platforms and tools for artists of color to be the architects of a more liberatory world. In addition to focusing on the sustainability of their programming, the organization will focus resources on expanding its commitment to disability justice and towards maintaining a care-centered work environment for its staff of 21 full-time employees — a majority of whom are artists themselves.

About BlackStar

BlackStar Projects is a non-profit organization, founded in 2012 by Maori Karmael Holmes as BlackStar Film Festival. They have since expanded into year-round programs, including film screenings, exhibitions, the annual film festival, a filmmaker seminar, a film production lab, and a journal of visual culture.

The organization creates the spaces and resources needed to uplift the work of Black, Brown and Indigenous artists working outside the confines of genre. Their programs provide artists opportunities for viable strategies for collaborations with other artists, audiences, funders, and distributors. BlackStar is working towards a liberatory world in which a vast spectrum of Black, Brown and Indigenous experiences is irresistibly celebrated in arts and culture.

This August marks the 13th annual BlackStar Film Festival, a four-day event, featuring selections of experimental films, imaginative narrative works, and groundbreaking documentaries hosted across multiple venues. From August 1-4 in the center of Philadelphia, the festival will feature artist panels, parties, and numerous opportunities for filmmakers and film enthusiasts to engage with a wide network of artists working across various mediums.

For press inquiries, please reach out to the team at ALMA.

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Seen is BlackStar’s journal of film and visual culture, published twice each calendar year. Issue 006 is now available.

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BlackStar is a leader in a global movement recognizing media arts and visual culture as a vital component in rectifying historical imbalances and creating a more equitable world. Help BlackStar shine by becoming a Member today.

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